Kale – super food
Kale growing in our garden amidst the poppies
Lately I have been supplying our local Health Shop with leaves. Actually, most of the time I exchange it for organic plain yoghurt! Apparently, they mostly sell it for people on a raw food diet. It is known for anti-cancer properties as Kale is a source of ondole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells. Because we have familial high cholesterol I was particularly interested to read that Kale has been found to contain a group of resins known as bile acid sequestrants, which have been shown to lower cholesterol and decrease absorption of dietary fat.
When Desmond and I walked the Camino from Lisbon to Santiago in 2011, we saw that every Portuguese house had a Kale patch and then we realised that the delicious ‘Caldo Verde’ (a green soup made with broth, potatoes, onions and kale) was actually made with Kale and not spinach as we thought. I use the tender first leaves raw in salad. I mix it with spinach – delicious topped with a poached egg.
We feed the hard outer leaves to the chickens and find that the egg yolks are very yellow – I always feel I need to explain to guests that these are eggs from chickens fed on Kale and Spinach leaves. For nutritional value you can google kale and come up with a million sources of information – and if there is any doubt regarding the properties of kale as superfood – take a look these eggs: the ones on the left are store bought organic large eggs – the ones on the right are from our hens!
My daughter’s Dutch friend Anneke told us that Kale freezes well and actually tastes sweeter after being exposed to cold – which means that we now pick the leaves and leave them in the fridge before we use them. You can wrap the leaves in a moistened kitchen towel before you pop it into the fridge and you’ll find that it stays fresh for days. The Dutch use it in a traditional winter dish called stamppot boerenkool, which is a mix of kale and mashed potatoes, sometimes with fried bits of bacon added to it.
Kale can be classified by leaf type:
Rape kale (we saw large fields of these in New Zealand, where it is used for animal feed)
Leaf and spear (a cross between curly-leaved and plain-leaved kale)
Cavolo nero (also known as black cabbage)
Try this delicious Smoothie recipe:
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 banana
- 1 thumb fresh ginger
- 1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
- ½ cup apple juice
- 3 leaves kale
- 1 cup cucumber
- combine ingredients in blender and blend.
- why not give each guest s a shot glass of this bright green health drink to start their day!